Finnair is aiming to double its revenue from traffic on its Europe to Asia route in the next seven years.
A week after the airline announced it plans to join British Airways and Japan Airlines in their business on flights between Europe and Japan (see online news, July 1), Finnair’s Frederik Charpentier told Business Traveller about the carrier’s Far East strategy.
The national airline has set itself an ambitious target of doubling its 2010 Europe to Asia revenue by 2020.
Charpentier, Finnair’s sales director Europe West, believes that this is achievable primarily because of the rapid passenger growth in Chinese cities, such as Chongqing and Xian, and because of Helsinki’s ideal geographical location.
He said: “Where we are very strong is our connection to the Far East. Helsinki is a hub ideally placed to serve that market.
“We have the benefit of being able to fly to most of our Asian destinations and back within 24 hours, which is not something that other airlines can do. So we have a real competitive advantage.
“It’s natural that this [Asia] is a key focus for us… We have a substantial network in the Far East and we’re also getting recognised in the Asian market as a good carrier with significant enough volumes to feature on people’s radar.”
He added: “We certainly want to be the most desired carrier for the Europe to Asia traffic. There’s competition there, but it’s also a market that’s growing… [with] secondary cities that are now entering the global stage and becoming important destinations.
“There’s still a lot of huge markets that haven’t been covered.”
Finnair last week officially joined the BA/Iberia/American Airlines transatlantic joint venture after receiving regulatory clearance.
While the airline will doggedly pursue the Asian market, it will not ignore the vital transtlantic marketplace, Charpentier said.
“Our strategy is very much focused on the Far East. I don’t see that changing.
“But what we see now with the North Atlantic joint business agreement is that there are ways for us to tackle other markets as well. This agreement was a great solution for us to be able to offer our customers a huge network towards North America.
“Of course, in terms of operating our own flights, the most logical direction is east still.”